Wake Up Call

As has been the case lately, I have not been writing posts as frequently as I would like to. It would appear a small thing called ‘life’ tends to get in the way. I know ….excuses, excuses, excuses! But, having said that I have another reason for not writing and that is that my “Idea” box is empty. Empty, that is, until around three o’clock this morning.

It was after I woke to go to the bathroom (one of three or four trips that I make in an evening – “Oh, the joys of getting old – but having reached age 78 last month, I am not complaining – just confessing!” During one of these trips I started thinking about what my next post should be about. What entered my head was a combination of things – one, I was feeling sorry for myself because lately I have been having some minor health problems and how this minor health problem could be looked upon as a  disability!

But then, my mind then wandered (which it tends to do a lot lately) to item number two which was about some of the posts I recently read where some retirees complain because they do not know what to do with themselves now that they are retired.

This combination of ideas got me to thinking, not of myself, but of others, people with true disabilities, not the mediocre ones many of us feel we suffer with during our daily lives. I got to thinking how these people managed to hold it all together and have the strength to move forward and do something with their life. Many of which probably never did retire as they were too wrapped up with what they enjoyed doing every day of their lives.

People like: Helen Keller – born June 27, 1880, and became deaf and blind at 19 months yet went on to become involved in significant political, social, and cultural movements of the 20th century and worked diligently until her passing to improve the lives of people with disabilities.

Or, John Nash – an American mathematician, born June 13, 1928, whose life, marked by acute paranoid schizophrenia, is known to us thanks to the film “A Beautiful Mind.”  Knowing of his illness, Nash fought against it and went on to develop a successful academic career that earned him the Nobel Prize in Economics in 1994.

Christy Brown, an Irish writer and painter who had cerebral palsy yet went on to write or type only with the toes of one foot and his most recognized work is his autobiography, titled My Left Foot.

I could go on an on as there are so many – Stephen Hawking, Marlee Beth Matlin, Michael J. Fox, Stevie Wonder, Nick Vujicic, Andrea Boccelli, and Muhammad Ali to name a few.

Many of us handicap ourselves into thinking “woe is me – what am I going to do with myself – I have it so bad” or “what is happening to me ‘sucks’.” When such a thought crosses our mind, what we need to do is “Gibb slap” ourselves on the back of our head and thank our lucky stars we are not ‘disabled’ in the true sense of the word, straighten up, and get on with our lives doing something instead of whining about it – myself included.

Besides, ‘wine’ is best served at the end of the day as we sit back, put our feet up, relax, and take stock of what we accomplished today. After all, we are retired, we have as much time as we need to get it right! Or do we?

Until next time!

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Life – Hard – Complicated – Or is it Just Us!

If there is one thing I have learned and am still learning the older I get is that we humans need to lighten up and not think life is always hard. Life truly isn’t all that difficult, unless of course, we ourselves, complicate it.

How so, well let’s take a step back and look at the schedules we set for ourselves. If we are still in the workplace, although I am not and I will get to us retired folks in a bit, in the interest of self-preservation or looking out for our future, we usually take on more than we should. Notice I said, usually. Oh, we get done whatever it is we say we are going to do – but at what cost?

We do not spend as much time with our families. We stay at the office or workplace longer than we should. And this can cause holes in our relationships with family later on in life. Being a retiree now for 22 years, I am becoming aware of some of my own short-comings when I was in the workforce. Although, truth be told, had I not done what I did over the years, my guess is that we would not have been able to enjoy our retirement years as much as we have and continue to enjoy. No regrets.

But, we do need to take time for ourselves and enjoy life. Whether still working or retired, we need to think twice about what we agree to do when asked. We do not need our activities swallowing up our lives. I used to work with an individual that early on said: “I work to live, not live to work!” Fact is we should make it a point to stay active and busy because we want to live.

Whether working or not, by treating our lives as a gift to be treasured and enjoyed, versus a commitment to be fulfilled, chances are we may just find that little piece of happiness we are all searching for.   

It’s the Paperwork that is the Pits!

Have you ever thought about ridiculous accidents that you have heard about over the years? Take the one where a guy was out shopping for groceries and was reaching into one of those freezers where you must bend over as far as you can to get the leaf spinach that is on sale – you know – BOGO – buy one and get one free. Why do they make those freezers so deep anyways?  Anyways as this guy was bending over – he was short you know – like me – he bent over too far, lost his balance and fell headfirst into the freezer.

Another guy happened to be walking by and being a big guy, grabbed our freezer diver –you know the guy hanging onto two boxes of frozen spinach with ankles shooting straight up in the air, dragged him out and decided they had best go to the hospital to have him looked at, treated if necessary, and hopefully released.

Chances are that falling into the freezer was the easy part. My educated guess is that the real trauma came later when the guy had to answer all the questions posed by the people who fill out the insurance forms he had to complete. Can you see it now?  Or should I say can you picture the type of questions that might have come up? Questions like:

Was this an accident? 

The guy really wanted to answer: “No – I always go freezer diving for several boxes of spinach!”

But being a gentleman: he merely replies: “Yes”

Wanting to cover all the bases, the insurance adjuster then asked:

“Was there any other way to get the spinach out of the case?”

Thinking about this for a moment, the guy recalls that there was a tall gentleman on the opposite side of the freezer he could have asked to reach down into the freezer case to grab the two boxes. But being a ‘macho’guy, he didn’t want to embarrass himself by asking.  And yet. knowing that the mere presence of a tall stranger on the opposite side of the case was, in fact, another opportunity/way to secure the spinach, he responded: “Probably”

Then the adjuster asks the question: Have you ever obtained your spinach like this before?

Knowing that he has – he replies: “Many times.”

Next would come the part where the individual has to fill in the explanation of the accident onto the small space provided on the form.  And so forth and so on!

Keep in mind we are talking about weird/ridiculous accidents.

Everyone knows that if there is anyone that knows about weird accidents, mothers know. Mothers know more about weird accidents because over their child-rearing years I am sure most accidents that happen with children border on the ridiculous. When you get right down to it, our children never seem to do things in a conventional manner. Think about it – kids stuffing pennies up their nose, catching their arms in weird places, sticking their heads through fences, or getting their hand literally stuck in the cookie jar – are typical of the type of accidents kids endure.

Think back to when you were raising your children and they got into some weird type of accident – first few words out of your mouth were probably:

“How in the world could something like this happen?”

But, as parents, we learn to accept the fact that strange things do in fact happen.

It gets to the point that when something strange does happen, we just prepare ourselves accordingly. All we end up doing is defend ourselves as we ride to the emergency room when and if the accident does happen. While riding to the hospital, we are contemplating the questions that will be asked of the accident and the fun the individual asking the questions will have trying to squeeze the answers into the limited space provided on the insurance form.

Can you see it or hear it now? “How did your daughter break her arm?”

“Falling out of her tree house!”

“Your daughter has her own tree house?”

“Doesn’t yours?”

Or,here is one for you – “Patient cut his tongue while hiding a G.I. Joe soldier in his mouth that his brother needed to complete his army battlefield just to aggravate him. Try inserting all that on the: “Description of accident line.”

And this is just a brief sampling of the probable statements the nurse will attempt to write in the short spaces allowed on insurance claims forms.

Okay, I have rambled on long enough now – one more hypothetical story with you that, if you can attempt to picture the incident in your mind, might just have you rolling on the floor by the time you are done reading this article.

Thinking about the numerous road trips we have taken over the years and watching people use the bathroom often whether on a train, bus, or plane, I can just see the face of the individual that had to fill out the claims form when the accident is described as follows: “Individual had his buttocks lodged in an emergency exit when, while in the rest room of a bus, the bus swerved, forcing him into the window.”

I can see it now – before even attempting to complete the paperwork, one of the hospital staff is surely going to ask the following question of the victim:

“Was this your assigned seat?”